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Monday, November 26, 2007


Everyone's probably heard stories about folk who watch Dateline or some other show that features diseases and, due to hypochondria or some other mental connection, decide that they in fact have it. I am NOT one of those folk. However, there's a new disease being talked about on the internet and the news that I believe I'm suffering from.

Phantom Cell Phone.

Now normally I'd clump this up in the category of diseases that we made up, like ADD, to explain some new and disturbing trend that we'd prefer to blame on genetics or fate instead of things like bad parenting. Parents would probably prefer to hear that their son has Attention Deficit Disorder and that's why he won't sit still and do schoolwork or focus on tasks for more than ten minutes at a time, rather than hear that their son won't pay attention to things because they've spoiled him with a lack of physical discipline. I'm pretty sure that the trend of ADD went on the rise just as parents were being told that spanking children is wrong and the whole child abuse thing took over. I'm not saying correlation means causation - I'm just saying it's pretty frickin' coincidental.

This PCP, however, explains a lot and makes actual biological sense. The whole disease is basically that carrying your Blackberry or other cell phone device in your pocket, doing its little vibration thing, over the years becomes like a part of your body. I'm not being zen and calling your phone "an extension of yourself" - I'm saying the brain apparently designates neurons and synapses strictly to that area of leg to specifically pick up on these vibrations. And, just like phantom limb for amputees, these neurons keep firing away even when your phone is off or not even in your pocket.

That little tingle, now being called "phantom buzz", is what drives people like me crazy. What's worse is when your phone is IN your pocket and you THINK it's going off and you check it and there's nothing there. No calls, no messages. Just you looking like an idiot, holding your phone.

My point is that I was feeling this and experiencing these symptoms long before I ever heard there was a new disease made up to explain it. Which makes it more real to me than ADD ever will. And I'm sure people will exclaim that ADD is a real disease and not just made up by drug companies to sell pills that do very little to treat something that already didn't really exist. Maybe their kid is one of the .1% who actually DOES have what would be called ADD and at a serious and real level. I think we should create a new disease for THAT and the REAL sufferers and finally drop this whole ADD loophole for kids who just don't want to pay attention.

I'd continue further, but my phone is ringing.

Oh crap. Never mind.

(Phantom Cell Phone article)

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